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Tuesday
21Apr

Obama and Torture

The New York Times is reporting that:

The Senate Intelligence Committee has begun a yearlong, closed-door investigation of the C.I.A. interrogation program, in part to assess claims of Bush administration officials that brutal treatment, including slamming prisoners into walls, shackling them in standing positions for days and confining them in small boxes, was necessary to get information.  

This comes to light amid allegations that the CIA used waterboarding during the interrogation of two top-ranking terrorist suspects no less than 266 times, and that officials at the Agency even wondered if they had crossed their own lines vis-à-vis waterboarding and the amount of water to be used.  As The Times notes, the revelation that waterboarding was used so often raises questions about its effectiveness, as well as Bush administration declarations that waterboarding was used within strict guidelines.  

It also raises questions about statements made in public during the Bush era, such as by one CIA agent who claimed that one of the two terrorists, Abu Zubaydeh, gave in after about 35 seconds of waterboarding, and offered to confess all he knew.  Recently released documents suggest that Zubaydeh was, in fact, waterboarded 83 times in August 2002 alone.  

The other subject was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded an astounding 183 times in March 2003.  Mohammed, of course, is the self-described mastermind behind the September 2001 attacks.  

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